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R. v. Francois



Type of Case:


Location (State or Country): 


Civil or Criminal: 

Other victims

Form of Corroboration: 


R v. Francois was a 1994 criminal case from Canada in which Francois was convicted on charges of rape based upon a female victim's recovered memories of being raped as many as 20 times by her neighbor in childhood, Lorne Francois. “The woman testified that she was about 13 years old when she went to the accused’s home one evening to use his living-room telephone because her family had no phone….She said Francois pulled down her pants and underwear and had sexual intercourse with her. When it was over, she said, ‘he told me not to tell anybody, or else'” (Prescott Child Sex-Abuse Probe). Mr. Francois did not take the stand, and the jury reached a unanimous decision of guilty. The verdict was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal (1993), with one judge dissenting due to concerns that the jury drew improper inferences from the defendant’s failure to take the stand. As stated by the majority: “The trial judge’s instructions were unimpeachable.” The verdict was also upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada. The most powerful corroboration of the claimants testimony came from Project Jericho, a massive investigation into child sexual abuse in the Prescott area. That investigation uncovered a host of other victims. Francois was found guilty in 1995 “of two sexual assault charges involving a 13-year-old boy more than 20 years ago” (Prescott man guilty of sexual abuse). “He is already serving six years for sex crimes, including raping a teenage girl and sexually assaulting two teenage boys.” (Id.) Charges that Francois sexually assaulted two patients at the Royal Ottawa Hospital when he was there for a court-ordered psychiatric assessment in 1991 were dropped when the Crown failed to move with sufficient speed (Miller). Given Francois’s 30-year history of violent sexual attacks on children, the Crown moved in 1997 to have him declared a dangerous offender. An Ottawa court decided, however, that he was unfit to take part in the hearing. He was committed to a mental hospital instead (Mercer).


1. Prescott Child Sex-Abuse Probe. (1992, April 1). Ottawa Citizen.

2. Ontario Court of Appeal (1993), 14 O.R. 3d 191

3. Supreme Court of Canada R. v. Francois, [1994] 2 S.C.R. 827

4. Prescott Man Guilty of Sexual Abuse. (1995, May 3). Ottawa Citizen. 5.
Miller, J. (1993, March 3). Child molestor's new charges quashed. Ottawa Citizen. 6.
Mercer, J. (1997, December 5). Pedophile unfit to take part in legal action: 69-year-old man faces hospitalization for dementia instead. Ottawa Citizen.

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